HomeDa Birds NewsVic Fangio's Arrival: Savior of the Eagles or a Setup?

Vic Fangio’s Arrival: Savior of the Eagles or a Setup?

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Vic Fangio’s Arrival: Savior of the Eagles or a Setup?

PHILADELPHIA – It’s a year late after a $5 million sojourn to South Florida but friend of the program turned Super Bowl LVII consultant Vic Fangio is finally the Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator.

The so-called Godfather of modern-day NFL defense is surely an upgrade from what the Eagles went through this past season on the defensive side of the football with Fangio disciple Sean Desai and the ill-fated in-season shift toward Matt Patricia.

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The so-called Rolodex for Fangio may be the deepest in the NFL and he has the cachet to get 2023 coordinators like Joe Barry and Mike Caldwell to interview for positional coaching jobs so the depth of the staff should also improve.

Ironically, it was partially Fangio’s recommendation of Desai to Nick Sirianni and the coach’s desire to keep the Fangio scheme as pure as possible in Philadelphia that tipped the scales to Desai over in-house promotional hopefuls like Dennard Wilson and Nick Rallis and the other candidates last year, according to a team source.

Vic Fangio
© Kirby Lee USA TODAY

If not for the circumstance, Fangio might have even wanted Desai on his staff now but that’s untenable.

What the Eagles do have in Fangio is the original, not the Xerox copy, and that alone should improve things when it comes to teaching what can be a complicated scheme for the back seven in regards to communication.

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A senior citizen at 65, Fangio’s first professional coaching job was in Philadelphia back in 1984 with the USFL’s Stars where he helped coach up Pro Football Hall of Famer Sam Mills. He’s forgotten more about defensive football than many of the current flavors of the month will ever know.

Fangio became a star as San Francisco’s defensive coordinator from 2011 to 2014 and that blossomed even further at his next stop as the DC in Chicago.

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A host of young offensive minds who rose to prominence and became head coaches like Sirianni, Sean McVay, Matt LaFleur, Kevin O’Connell, and Mike McDaniel wanted their defenses to run Fangio’s schemes because they felt it was the most difficult to deal with.

There’s an argument that every scheme has a shelf life and that the league is catching up to the Fangio template, something Vic himself talked about before the 2023 season started. Of that aforementioned coaching group, McVay and KOC have shifted and now McDaniel seems prepared to do the same.

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To be fair, Fangio has shown an ability to adapt and he’s not the one chasing the trend; he was in the pace car.

By definition, that should mean Fangio could do it again. What Fangio isn’t, however, is a magic bullet.

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The Dolphins weren’t exactly blocking the door when it came to Fangio leaving and more than a few Miami defenders weren’t exactly preparing heartfelt eulogies for the experience.

Dolphins cornerback Cam Smith tweeted an unlocked emoji after the news broke, and play-making safety Jevon Holland posted a video of himself kicking rocks.

Holland’s dad offered up this interesting comp: “Everybody loves the IPhone but nobody wants the #IPhone 1,” insinuating that offenses have caught up with Fangio.

“There were quite a few players on the team that didn’t necessarily get along with Fangio,” NFL agent Drew Rosenhaus said. “And so, it wasn’t a great relationship with many of the players. There were some guys that loved him, but there was quite a few that didn’t. It definitely wasn’t a unanimous, positive relationship.”

A Miami source confirmed Rosenhaus’ words and noted that many of the Dolphins’ best defensive players brought up Fangio during their exit interviews with McDaniel. Some even demanded McDaniel remove Fangio unless the latter changed his rigid, uncompromising coaching style.

McDaniel himself felt Fangio carried himself like the head coach of the defense and was unwilling to follow directions at times. The coach’s statement announcing Fangio’s departure was all business.

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Complicating matters even further for Philadelphia is that many Eagles fans have already been sold that Fangio is some kind of defensive savior in the wake of the high-profile Jonathan Gannon tampering scandal after Super Bowl LVII, something that could and likely will create unrealistic expectations at a time when the Eagles need significant talent additions on the defensive side.

Personnel always comes first. While Fangio will likely have anything he’s handed better prepared than his copycats, even the best chefs need top-of-the-line ingredients to produce the desired result.

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